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She was born in a land of ice and snow, on the coast of Alaska. Mountains, forest and the aurora lights were the back drop of her childhood while the dark, reflective ocean was the fore front of her childhood. Kalia was blessed to be the daughter of Tapasuma, a inuit diety of reincarnation and the ocean. Yet, Kalia learned at a very young age that every blessing is just a curse in disguise. Being the decendent of a death goddess meant seeing ghosts.

And these ghosts often brought nightmares and dark whispers with them.

She'd often find herself staring out her bedroom window, to the forest, staring at the shadows. They'd whisper for her to come out and play.
The only thing holding her back from wandering into the forest was Kalia's older half siter, Katsuka. 

Katsuka was the voice of reason growing up. She pushed Kalia to be perfect, in order to avoid harsh feedback from their parents. She taught Kalia everything that Kalia knows, and was considered the golden child of the family. She often took charge of every situation. Whenever Kalia was in trouble, Katsuka would shape shift into Kalia's form, and take Kalia's punishment. Then she would throw it in Kalia's face that Kalia didn't listen to her.



But one day, on Kalia's 15th birthday, Katsuka listened to Kalia. "We can go to the forest. I know how badly you want to see what's out there. We'll have to sneak out at night though. Mom would be mad if she knew what was happening." Kalia was excited and so hopeful that she could help put the spirits to peace in the forest.

The night came. Kalia and Katsuka wandered in the forest, chasing spirits all night long. Finally, they realized a storm was coming. On their way back, they slipped into a ravine, but found shelter in a cave.

Two weeks passed. The storm raged on and on.


Katsuka was seriously injured. All the shapeshifting powers Katsuka had were pretty much useless, as she was injured in the fall.

As soon as Kalia saw Katsuka injured, she realized that Katsuka wouldn't live long. And Kalia thought she would die too, without food, and doubted that her parents would find them out in the ravine. 

The spirits started to whisper to her. Kalia didn't want to die. She didn't want to be a spirit in the forest.

When Katsuka finally shuddered a horrible, dying breath, Kalia felt overwhelmed. She was so hungry, so cold, and so scared.

Two weeks, with no sun. Two weeks, with no food. Two weeks, and it was a miracle she hadn't freezed to death. Two weeks of the ghosts.

She gave into what the spirits were saying to her, and finally, devoured Katsuka's flesh.

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After Kalia was found, she was resented by Katsuka's mother, Sedna. Sedna ended up sexually abusing Kalia, until Katsuka/Kalia's father, Shachigo, took Kalia to Japan to train as a Shinto Gate Gaurd- with her being half yokai. She quit her training 3 months before graduating, and instead, decided to pursue her art and travel the world.


 

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Kalia is often described as a kindred spirit and the life of a party. She likes being the center of attention, as it validates her. (Plus, she's a saggitarious, so it makes sense.) 

While she tends to go with the flow, making her seem as a flexible, inside she is a very anxious and sensitive person. Kalia needs a safety net, which has proved to be her family, over and over again. Her co dependency on her family has ruined many relationships outside of it.

Her anxiety - which stems from the need to impress those around her in order to keep them in her life - has left her to be a perfectionist and clean freak. Her outfits are often planned ahead, room kept tidy, and workspace kept confined. There are many times where she gets frustrated with an art piece and ends up scrapping it until she gets it perfect. Because she takes first impressions seriously, it is hard to change her percepetion of a person.

 


 


𝐌𝐎𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐑  — ❝ Tapasuma ❞
 
金武
𝐒𝐈𝐁𝐋𝐈𝐍𝐆  — ❝ Katsuka 


𝐌𝐎𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐑  — ❝ Sedna
 
お父さん 
𝐅𝐀𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐑  — ❝ Shachigo ❞


 

 

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T H R E A D S

{Semi selective, x five}

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2. Tempest

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  • Roman's eyes begin to narrow, but in a particular way that makes the negative way that he emotes appear playful. Firstly, he looks Mouse up and down, then he eyes the candles followed by a quick glance to his left at nothing specific like he's become irritated by something she has said. All this and yet, there is a sense that there is no need to take his demeanour seriously. "Scared of ghosts?" He questions. There is a subtle laugh in the tone of his voice, "no, I don't think that is true. Not everybody runs into the supernatural, you must be some kind of magnet or extraordinary person for that to happen." Roman scoffs softly but manages to fight the urge to roll his eyes as he adds, "I couldn't care less about the likes of angels or demons."

    Once Mouse begins to recollect her things, Roman strides over and crouches alongside her with a fair amount of distance between them. Without touching any of Mouse's belongings in an effort to help her, he just examines the little alter while he has the chance. He is unfazed by the strangeness of the situation, in fact, he is intrigued. "I like being out here," he says, cupping his cheek with his hand as he watches Mouse collect her belongings. "It's quieter than the city I came from so I feel like I can breathe," he explains, before twisting the conversation back to Mouse's statement, "I don't really hike either, I just enjoying running because I have a lot of energy."

    Now finished tidying up, Romam straightens himself back up into a standing position. He lifts one arm and crosses it over his chest, holding it at the elbow with his opposite hand to stretch out the muscles. Although he'd only finish half of his intended route, he's decided to leave it at that now that he's become to distracted to continue. Besides, his heart rate has already fallen and it'd be annoying to start from scratch again. When done stretching his arm, he nods at Mouse. "Yeah, in the area," he confirms nonchalantly.

    New friends with an interesting vibe. Roman appears to consider this for a second, but he doesn't take long to make up his mind. "Alright," he agrees, "but don't blame me if you get kidnapped by some stray woodland fae." That's probably a joke. He follows up by reciting his phone number, making sure to it is easy to recall. Once satisfied, he lifts his chin in acknowledgement and steps to the side, "guess I'll be seeing you around sometime?"

    ----

    (This ended in a weirdly abrupt way - feel free to time skip lol)

  • Roman slowly steps around a rock that is half buried in the soil and finds even ground where it isn't uncomfortable to stand before paying proper attention to Mouse. He lifts his arm, sifting a set of fingers through his dark hair to push the stray strands away from his forehead. Though, he pauses like that with his elbow high in the air, hand on his head and eyes cast downward at Mouse as if he were caught mid-thought and contemplating something. "Join you? Wouldn't it be too early for me to meet your parents?" He quips, a soft smile spreading across his face as he finally drops his arm.

    Roman needn't read her aura to understand that she is flustered - he can see the red pricking the tips of her ears and the way words seem to tumble from her mouth without much control. In her defence, she was not expecting company out here. Nor was he. Roman's eyes leave Mouse and explore the surrounding forest, simply noticing the way the wind picked up subtly. Leaves rustle and twigs sway, making the forest appear to emote in a human way. As Mouse continues to trip and stumble on her words, Roman's eyes slowly return to her and narrow ever-so-slightly. That stern expression he wears does not last long, however, quickly replaced by a lighter one. He's fighting off the urge to laugh out of concern that he will rattle her further. She looks like she'll burst a fuse soon.

    "I sense something unusual.." She says, eliciting an almost undetectable reaction from Roman. His expression flinches.

    If Mouse catches it, there's a heavy pulse of erratic energy rolling off Roman in a wave so fast that it might be likened to a flash of lightning. Dark shades of red melt into the frequency of auras, only to be drained out of existence when Roman reels it back in and slams a lid onto the box. It isn't that he generally cares much to conceal himself, but he's whimsically decided to convey himself as harmless for no other reason than he feels like it.

    He finally breaks the hold on his laughter and seems to absolutely glow when he does. "Do you make it a habit to run into supernatural things?" He teases, raising a single brow at her, "don't panic, I'm not offended. But you sure do talk an awful lot, huh?" Without a single thought, he breezes by this comment and uses his thumb to indicate toward a direction, "I come here most mornings to run, it's more challenging, plus there's a stream so I can refill my bottle." The more he speaks, the more clear it becomes that he isn't from around here - not originally anyhow. He's Australian, yet his accent isn't strong enough to be difficult to understand.

    Fuck. He thinks she might just kill him from cuteness.

    "Hello," he answers, gentle dipping his head in a sort of nod of acknowledgement. "Mouse?" It fits her. "I do have a name. Roman Bailyee, and I live near here, small little neighbourhood closer to the river." He pauses, allowing the sounds of the forest to fill in any possible silence before he eventually chirps back in with an afterthought, "oh, by the way, sorry if I startled you. I kind of feel bad.." He absolutely does not feel bad.

  • A small glacier-like clear stream cuts a curvy path down the moss, rocks and roots scattered on the gradient of the earth. The sound of running water overpowers that of the surrounding nature, drowning the soft hum of insects and quiet footsteps of creatures scampering upon old leaves on the dirt. It took him all the years of his life to learn how to appreciate the absence of the constant buzz that is so unique to city life. Nights in the city never felt like nights; it felt like an opportunity. But here, out where he feels like the air he breathes has somehow changed, the nights are just that - nights. Cold, quiet and sombre. He'll never forget his first night here in this quiet part of Ireland. Roman had never slept so good.

    He kneels onto the soft dirt below and scoops two hands into the cold water. Water gushes between his fingertips as he lifts them out, bringing his hands up and over the back of his bowed head until his hair is soaked. He does this once more, now satisfied with the cooling effect from the water. Breathing laboured, Roman takes this moment to calm the rate of his heart rate and cool off. He throws himself back off his knee and into a sitting position, his feet and knees wide apart, one forearm resting on his dirtied knee. While telling himself that he's got to go out and run more often, he pulls out a now slightly wet earbud from his ear with music coming from it. HIs earphones dangle around his neck, following the curve of his shoulders and tracing down his bicep where they are connected to a phone attached to his arm.

    So much for enjoying the quiet.

    But now that he is without the distraction of noise, Roman immediately recognizes the other presence. He leans into it, hyper concentrating on the small traces of aura fanning around in the surrounding area. It is not unusual for others to be in the area, but it is unusual for bypassers to be conducted magic. Witch? This could be interesting...

    ---

    "Hello? I know you're there."

    Roman laughs, a bright and melodic sounding tune that seems so far removed from threatening. However, the immediate hush of the forest due to Roman's appearance might suggest otherwise. Coming from a short distance away, Roman tramples forward, pushing away stray twigs from low-hanging trees. He's in running gear. Black shorts, sneakers, no shirt, a music player strapped to his bicep and a recently re-filled water bottle hanging from the tips of his fingers. "Hi," he says, sounding (unexpectedly) friendly, "what'cha doing?" He briefly gestures to the candles on the ground to emphasize his point.

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  • Dolai gently released the woman from her grasp to let her fellow sisters mount her weakening body atop the horse. Stepping into one stirrup, she swung her leg over the back of the black stallion. With haste, digging her heels into his side, they were off, galloping into the dense woodland. 

    She knew time was of the essence, the woman was slowly fading. She pressed her heel into the stallion's ribcage and whipped the reins against his sturdy neck, ushering him forth. 

    They would break the treeline, met by a scene that was a thief of one's breath. The hill sloped, lined with lush vineyards bearing ripening, plump grapes. There was a small stable in the distance, illuminated by lantern light, offering guidance in the dark of the night. Beside the building was a little pasture, where another white Pindos pony grazed. The cliffs fell to the sea that broke against ivory rock, roaring its power and ferocity with every wave. There was a white villa braving the winds at the edge of the cliff, vines growing along the side. Wild peonies bespeckled the pale green grass. Another white building lie closer to the vineyard, where the wine was made and stored.

    Quick to ride up to the villa, Dolai dismounted, gently hoisting the woman down from Noita's dapple gray. She gave her a curt nod before hurrying up the white steps and pushing open the double doors. She hurried through the courtyard which held spiraling olive trees and a plethora of aromatic herbs like knapweed, laconian thyme, apple bearing sage, wort and olympus yarrow. She pushed open the doors into the main hall, making her way into a room. 

    She set the woman on a lectus couch before clearing off her dining table. She set a pillow down for the woman's weary head before resting her atop the table. Dolai hurried to the kitchen, opening cabinets to search for various herbs. She upon opening a cabinet located near her cauldron, she found her pots full of opium poppy capsules, sisa, ergot fungus, marijuana and it's extracted oils- all substances illegal in the state of Athens.

    Foolishly, in a rush she returned to the woman with various items, leaving the cabinet open. Her amber gaze lifted as Noita entered the room from putting away the horses. "She is weakening," Dolai replied, placing five mookaite jasper stones around the woman's tremoring form. "There is a land across the many seas, a land of mystics, where I learned something that will tell us what ails her." Dolai rubbed at her temple, seeing that she forgot a vital instrument. "Noita, there is a ceremonial flint knife that hangs above my cauldron in the kitchen. Will you fetch it for me?"

  • The pounding footsteps behind them were ever looming threats, filling Dolai's heavily pierced ears as she followed close behind Noita, the broken woman still held in her arms. The vein in her temple pulsated with adrenaline as she waited for Noita to reveal the secret passage into the cistern. Her serpentine eyes lit up as the passage was revealed due to her comrade's quick thinking. They pushed on, splashing through the murky cistern water. The pitch black tunnel reeked of feces, foul and rank, stinging Dolai's eyes and nose.

    In the darkness, she found Noita's voice, picking up on each tongue she murmured, her gaze arising to the ceiling as the hanging lamps suddenly burst with a flame, illuminating the tunnel. Impressed by the sudden spell as well as her knowledge of the palace, Dolai gave her a nod of admiration before following close behind as they advanced through the rancid smelling cistern.

    The ancient held the woman close to her body, her head resting against a tattooed neck, toned arms braced beneath her back and behind her knees. She could practically feel the woman's suffering. She would examine her as soon as possible for any life threatening injuries that may not appear on the outside. Her thoughts were brought to a halt as Noita spoke. A subtle grin parted full lips, white teeth contrasting bronze brown, sun damaged cheeks. "I am no more incredible than you are, Noita," she replied. "Your strategic knowledge rivals Athena, your magic appears abundant, and it was you who ignited this cause. I would not be here had you not invited me. These women will thank you for your courage."

    Dolai felt a wave of relief wash over her once she received news that the rest of the cult were safe. Now, all they needed to do was escape the vicinity of the palace. Her enhanced hearing quickly picked up on the distant barking and paw steps of the dogs. "She'll ride with you, we're almost there," she said, picking up her pace, eager to get out of the stinking cistern and flee with the injured woman. 

    It wasn't long before they would crawl out of the end of the cistern, the soiled water pouring into a stream. Dolai deeply inhaled fresh air, pleased that they had escaped, but they still were not in the clear. Beyond the clearing, hidden by trees and foliage, two of their sisters waited with two horses. Both were Pindos ponies, a breed found in the Pindus mountains near Thessaly, one a deep, lustrous black, the other an eye catching, freckled dapple gray with a pale brown mane. "There," Dolai nodded towards the treeline, approaching them and awaiting Noita to mount one of the horses.

  • Dolai stared down at the two bloodied bodies, lifeless and now as purposeless in death as they had been in life. Her attention was stolen by Noita as she commanded the other women to dispose of the bodies. It was a sufficient plan but she knew that haste was of importance. She nodded to Noita, impressed that she had been able to conceal whatever weapon she was carrying this entire time. Without hesitation, she followed her partner down the winding halls to find the dungeon. 

    At first, she was taken aback by the smell; the foul scent of rotting flesh and ammonia, the aroma of depression and lives on the brink of ending. They were starved, bruised, tortured, pressing against the bars in hopes of freedom, but many of them were criminals against the state of Athens.

    Her attention was called once more by the voice of Noita, who pointed out the very woman they were searching for. She felt her heart wrench and her spine shudder at the sight of the defeated, forsaken woman, victim of injustice and cruelty at the hands of Athenian men. Her blood boiled, the vein in her temple pulsating with rage she struggled to contain. Her amber gaze met Noita's, pupils mere slits before holding up the bloodstained Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar. 

    With the very tip of the blade, she carved the Icelandic stave, Lásabrjótur, a sigil for undoing locks. After a gentle mutter, the door was unlocked and Dolai was quick to push it open, alighting to the woman's side. "You will not die here, innocent child," she said, placing her inked hands on the woman's exposed shoulders. 

    "Ault fri halt dí, féith fri fréth," Dolai murmured in flawless Irish Gaelic tongue, and the wounds marring the woman's flesh would slowly begin to heal, the bruises slightly fading. No, she was not completely healed, it would take two or three days before she had recovered, maybe longer with how emaciated she was. Dolai's head snapped around at the sound of the hastily approaching guards, cursing under her breath. 

    She met Noita's gaze. "Quickly, to the cistern," she rasped, scooping the beaten woman up in well muscled, tattooed arms. She had remarkable strength for a woman, that even surpassed a human male. With the blood of a God in coursing through her veins, Dolai had no issue carrying the downtrodden prisoner. 

    With their target in her arms, the African advanced towards the opposite corridor, trying to drown out the angered shouts of the prisoners that they left behind. With guards approaching, she prayed for her and her sisters safety as Dolai and Noita made their way towards the cistern.

  • Dolai had met with the cult of Hecate by the palace outer walls, gaining entrance through the east wing. She wore a plain white chiton, drawn with a thin string, simple and easily overlooked, as most Greek servants clothing. Entering the palace, her almond shaped eyes wandered over the architecture, a gleam of awe in her amber irises as she gazed at the architectural feat. Normally, she would've felt comfortable in the presence of power and wealth, she was no stranger to it. She had once been djati, or an advisor, to Pharaoh Narumaré, Djoser and Hatshepsut but even that did not compare to sitting on the throne at the side of Sargon the Great, as Empress of the Akkadian Empire. No, Dolai was quite familiar with power, but here, masquerading as a humble servant, she felt displaced. 

    She hurried as Noita ushered her forth through the commotion, her gaze flickering over to the intoxicated bodies that scrambled amongst themselves. As they darted out of sight, Dolai glanced over her shoulder before turning to Noita as the other woman spoke. "I have my own weapon, but you all will need some as well," she replied quickly. "Let's go before we are caught." Her husky voice was a low rasp in the echoes of the hallway before she advanced down it, searching for the armory. Her sandals clip clopped on the hard floor as she ran, hands clutching the skirt of her chiton. 

    About to round the corner, Dolai spotted two guards and quickly stopped in her tracks, holding out a tattooed arm to stop the other woman from running into their sight. She turned to her companions, her gaze hard, a look that told them she would handle this. She tossed her passion twists over her shoulders, stepping out into the sight of the guards. "Hey. Stop where you are, what is your business here, Aethiopian?" One growled, his voice gruff and filling the hall. Dolai turned as if she were surprised, upturned eyes wide and doe like. "Oh! I am only a lost housemaid, I was serving at the party but I got lost in the halls. And forgive me, but I am no Aethiopian, but I am new to Athens. I have yet to experience what the city has to offer, wouldn't you agree?" She canted her head, a sultry smile passing over her lips as her hands, clutching her skirt, revealed the bronze brown skin of her thigh. The guards eyes followed her movements, their once tense shoulders relaxed and lowering their swords. 

    Dolai dared to edge forward closer to the guards, their eyes fixed on the sway of her hips. "Yeah? Then where did you come from, slavegirl?" The other guard asked, circling around behind her, enclosing the North African in between the two. "A land far gone, trivial information, love. But my master will not notice I am gone for quite some time." She undid the drawstring at her shoulder and letting it fall off, before reaching for the other. "What do you say you two show me what Athens has to offer?" She murmured, fingers pausing at the second drawstring, one guards hands running over her wide hips, making her skin crawl. But she had them right where she wanted them.

    Murmuring under her breath, a flash of light would manifest a silver scimitar in her hand, it's hilt encrusted with emeralds, the curved sword radiating a powerful aura. Shamshir-e Zomorrodnegar, the sword of Persian legend, forged by Kāve to slay the demon, Fulad-Zereh. Without hesitation, the blade lacerated the first guard's throat, before Dolai whirled around, driving the scimitar into the second guard's chest as he reached for his sword. Dolai twisted the curved blade, blood sputtering from the guards mouth as she withdrew the sword and he fell to the ground. With crimson bespeckling her face, neck and white chiton, she turned to the other woman, beckoning them forth with a blood-dripping scimitar as her other hand fixed her drawstring. "Hurry, take all you need," she said, throwing open the doors to the armory. "We need to go before someone finds them."

  • The wooden halls of Folkváng echoed with the raging feminine voice shouting louder than anything mortal men could ever imagine: "LOOOOKI!", and not soon after the dusk haired Jötunn was seen fleeing the mead hall, followed by a furious Freyja whose hair was full of small bird bones tied with strong knots. The laughing Loki could barely keep himself upright while running, for he thought his prank had been very funny. Of course, Freyja did not think the same. And to her dismay, the other gods couldn't help themselves from giggling and chuckling at the sight of poor Freyja."I only wanted to cheer up your brother, no need to get so aggressive" he finally managed to blurt out but to no avail. Freyr, Freyja's brother, had indeed been cheered up by the prank and he was still rolling on the floor in the mead hall, laughing his breeches off.

    Loki had been sent to Vanaheim by Odinn with gifts making up for the losses of several Valkyrie soldiers in the last raid. The Vanir and Aesir relations were heated and Odinn figured that Loki would be the better candidate to negotiate a temporary truce. After all, he was neither Vanir nor Aesir. And he was very witty and always knew what to say. Freyr had been mourning a fallen friend for some time, a friend whose name was never to be remembered by mortals. His name would be translated as 'leaf rock' as he would float through the battlefield like a leaf, but hit the enemy hard like a rock. It was rare with someone so hard-hitting being so agile. He'd been killed by mountain giants a few days ago, and Freyr had not been able to let go. That is until young Loki had turned up and pulled his pranks. Freyr and Freyja were the sibling rulers of Vanaheim and they had agreed to sign the truce was Loki able to make Freyr laugh within three days. This was the third day, and he'd certainly succeeded in that - perhaps at the cost of ever having a friendship with Freyja.

    Loki was fast. Faster than most humans. And faster than almost any Vanir. And Freyja couldn't possibly catch up with him on foot. Luckily, she was an experienced sorceress and she could turn animal skins into magical cloaks which allowed the wearer to turn into the animal the cloak was made from. Freyja had a cloak made from an Eagle's feathers, and as she chased after Loki, she swept it around her shoulders and leapt into the air a giant Eagle. Loki did not even manage to say a word before he was swept away by Freyja's giant talons and carried far into the deep woods. He squirmed and struggled lazily while admiring the view. Never before had he been flying and although he feared Freyja's wrath, he knew this time she wouldn't dare kill him. He eventually even stopped squirming and just enjoyed the views. But as he was fixed on the vast green ocean of trees, Freyja let go of her grip and Loki fell.

    Had he been mortal, he would've been dead as he landed, but luckily, he was not. As he fell, Loki changed his shape into a great serpent. Far larger than any native serpent, yet he looked like a harmless grass snake painted in orange tones. Though, even grass snakes may look sinister to most. And one the size of a human would surely strike terror into any who saw it. He was aiming to catch a branch but miscalculated his own weight and the twig gave up beneath his mass, sending him falling right into the stream below where an odd figure has waded into the water to drown. The splash was so mighty that it sent the water rushing to the shores, interrupting the stream for but a split moment. And for several seconds, Loki was paralyzed by pain.

  • The streets that once thronged with everyday small-town life now stood completely empty, as barren as any wasteland. It was nothing but a mere skeleton of a former human civilization, and a cruel reminder of how things had been so very different before brothers brought up arms against one another, just a few years prior. And, thanks to the intertwined web of alliances and allegiances forged between nations, many more were obligated by duty to allow themselves to be drawn into the war, as one declaration of war simply begets another in a vicious cycle of perpetual war declarations that never seems to have an end in sight. And all this fighting, all this senseless slaughter and shameless waste of human life, it would only serve to widen the gap between these countries, and bring the world further into an even deeper state of chaos and misery.

     

    And it was -EVERYWHERE-.

    Even in places where there were no direct violence between armed forces, the ripple effects could still be felt. To escape such an all-encompassing, massive bloodbath...well it was next to impossible.

    Cities for example, by their very nature, were heavily dependant on outside intervention for the necessities of life like food or medicine, coming from overseas or the countryside. And the countryside itself, well it provided the perfect playground for death to scurry across from one trenchline to the next, collecting souls as he went along.

    In any case, The Great War disrupted the flow of these vital goods, both in and out. The artery of the great city of London was clogged, and because of this epidemics of near biblical proportions were allowed to freely spread, unchecked across a distracted population. 

     

    Timothy had not asked to take part in all this senseless violence. He did not want to.

    And if there was a God above, then Timothy was truly despised by him, just like his father and mother had said he was. But there was no God anywhere to be found in these cracked sidewalks and crumbling building walls, nor was he found next to the empty gun shells littering the streets like leaves in august month. Timothy did not believe in any God who would allow this kind of senseless waste.

     

    Yes, God was gone, as were now the food vendors and the women in their bright cheerful clothings, selling handmade goods from simple carts and baskets. 

    Gone were the small children who played happily amongst the crowds with their games and laughter. Gone were the cozy little boutiques with their windows of fine clothing or various edible delicacies.

    And there were no pleasant scent of freshly baked bread, wafting from the local bakery any more, nor was the baker there himself in person, to greet you and bid you welcome to his humble shop. 

    No, instead a foul odour of stale gunpowder permeated the air, only overruled by the powerful gut-turning stench of bodily decay, emanating from so many many corpses that had been piled on top of one another. 

    They laid like dolls on the grounds, limbs positioned at awkward angles and heads held in such a way that they cannot be sleeping. These bodies, once the repositories of people as alive as Timothy was now, are nought but abandoned shells left to rot in the open.

    Some will be consumed by the local wildlife, while others will simply wither away into nothing, slowly giving up their flesh to the soil and showing their white bones to the sun.

     

    “God almighty.” Robin finally commented on the horrific scene at hand, being the first to break the silence which had laid itself over their squad like a suffocating blanket from the moment they had entered the village.

     

    Timothy crouched down, agreeing with a silent nod of his head.

    He then brought his index finger and his thumb to grab hold of a mud covered bullet in between. He studied it carefully in the early morning light, and watched in wonder and sadness how the light reflected off its golden surface where the soggy brown had not yet encapsulated it fully. 

    He became lost in thought, wondering what kind of a monster would gun down innocent civilians like mowing the lawn. His mother had told him before, that putting a gun in a man’s hand changed him fundamentally. Some who were the kindest and gentlest of souls would, if given the opportunity, freely rape and plunder like the very worst of Satan’s followers. She had also said, later contradicting herself, after he'd told her who he was, that she believed that the only way to cure his homosexuality, was to put cold steel in his hand. 

    That it would make a man outta him, finally.



    “We should give them a proper burial.” Robin finally said solemnly, bringing the lid of one man's eye to a final close and snapping Tim out of his thoughts.

    While a noble thing for sure, they did not have time to bury the dead, and were forced to march onwards. They had to keep themselves moving, towards the church which was only a half days walk away. This was because there they were expected to join up with another strike coalition alongside the French, who would move out in a few days time to recapture a small town city that Timothy could not pronounce, or spell the name of correctly.

    And so they walked, and they walked, until they could almost bear it no more, especially as the sun finally showed its ugly shite face, casting an unwanted showering of warm sun rays down upon them. 

    FINALLY, after hours of walking, there it was, a ruin of its former splendour, with walls decorated with bullet holes, and a trench dug all around its side, and finally to top it all off, barb wires spread evenly throughout to make storming the building a daunting task.

    He wondered who would be there, and what kind of weaponry the french had got going for them as he now along with the rest of his squad passed through the gates of the church.

     

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